Brandi Disterheft's "JUNO nominated" Surfboard album available on CD or LIMITED Stock 1st Edition VINYL!
Brandi Disterheft- Bass and Vocals
George Coleman- Saxophone
Klaus Mueller- Piano
Bassist-composer-singer Brandi Disterheft’s fifth album, Surfboard is her most accomplished yet. Joined by two iconic octogenarian masters — virtuoso tenor saxophonist George Coleman and the definitive Brazilian drummer Portinho — and world-class pianist Klaus Mueller, Disterheft authoritatively and organically guides the flow on a varied program that reflects her capacious interests. Her kinetic, harmonically erudite basslines anchor ensemble interpretations of choice tunes culled from the blues, mainstem jazz, and the Great Brazilian and American Songbooks. She sings those Songbook numbers, and her own evocative lyrics, with an instantly recognizable voice that conveys vulnerability and emotional intelligence. And she matches the high bar set by her partners on a series of creative solos.
The project gestated in Disterheft’s decade-long musical relationship with Portinho, who made his mark working with illuminaries such as Tania Maria, Harry Belafonte, Astrud Gilberto, and Nancy Wilson to name a few, and whom she met through Mueller soon after before she moved to New York from Canada in 2010. Their simpatico developed during years as a working band, on numerous Canadian concerts led by Disterheft and Portinho’s five-sets-a-night weekend sinecure at a Brazilian churrascaria in Manhattan.
“I wanted to record us,” she says. “Porto has a way of uplifting the beat. It’s so funky, with such an infectious groove, and he has so much dynamic range- not utilized enough by younger drummers. He has strict rules, but once you learn them, he wants you to break away. He’s always anticipating, turning around the phrases. Porto is coined as the James Brown of the Brazilian Funk Samba. It is a thrill to play with him!”
Coleman, most known for his work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Chet Baker, plays characteristically compelling solos on the standards “My Foolish Heart” and “Speak Low” and the leader’s own evocative “Coup de Foudre.” Disterheft connected with him through his lifelong friend and bandstand partner, the late pianist Harold Mabern, who — with A-list New York drummer Joe Farnsworth — partnered with Brandi's on her hard-swinging 2016, CD, Blue Canvas, and several subsequent tours. Like Portinho, she remarks, Coleman “loves to keep people on their toes,” adding, “He’ll change harmony at the drop of a hat.”
Disterheft’s harmonic erudition, soulfulness and intense individualism come through when she sings the jazz standard “Where or When” and the 60s pop hit “On Broadway.” “It depicts the reality of New York, a hard run for some folks when one thin dime won’t even shine your shoes,” she comments on the latter tune. “I related to ‘they say I won’t last too long on Broadway; I’ll catch a Greyhound bus back home. When I first relocated to NYC, I frequented that 12 hour overnight bus to continue to make performances in Toronto. It puts the gutbucket in your playing,” Disterheft says. You hear her blend down-home grit and highbrow finesse on personalized interpretations of canonic pieces by bass heroes Oscar Pettiford (“The Pendulum at Falcon’s Lair”) and Sam Jones (“Del Sasser”), and in her propulsive beat articulation on two “obscure, wonderful Brazilian tunes” that Portinho brought to her attention — Moacir Santos’ “Nanã” and the polyrhythmic “Surfboard,” a less-traveled Jobim number that titles this superb, engaging album.
“It sounds like you’re trying to balance life on a surfboard,” Disterheft says of the latter. “The audience lights up as soon as you play it.”